I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get around to sharing his birth story, but I wanted to write this post before I start to forget the details. With Henry, it took me a quite a long time to actually write out his birth story because his birth, although incredible and happy, was also very painful and somewhat traumatic; he had to go to the NICU right after birth, and recalling all the details made me quite emotional. Thankfully this time around, everything went much more smoothly and so I feel like it’s a lot easier to sit down and write it out. Here’s the story of how we met our sweet Charlie…
Leading up to my due date, I was fully expecting that I would go into labor early. Henry had only been four days late and although I felt good throughout this pregnancy, this baby just felt big and so I figured this time around that I’d end up giving birth before or at least very close to my due date. My mom actually came into town two days before my due date (10/18) and at my midwife appointment the day before my due date (10/19) I was between 2 and 3cms dilated (and she swept my membranes at that appointment), so I figured it would happen any time. But then my due date came and went and nothing happened. No labor signs, nothing. And while it was nice to have some extra time with my mom, I started to get antsy pretty quickly.
My dad got into town a few days after my due date (10/23) and still no baby. And over the next week, I basically became more and more agitated every single day that I didn’t go into labor. Sure, we were doing fun things like going out to eat, I had pretty much finished everything on my pre-baby to-do list, and it was nice to for my parents to get to spend time some extra time with Henry. But it was also very mentally draining being overdue. I never really understood why people complained so much when they went past their due date, after all, it’s is just an arbitrary day and all along you’re told that the baby can come well before or after. Yet there is something about that day passing and still being pregnant that becomes really exhausting. When I was a little overdue with Henry, it really didn’t bother me too much,
mainly because I think I was more nervous about labor and having a
newborn, so I was fine with having a few extra days of being pregnant.
This time around, we were much more ready and just so excited to meet
our son that it made the waiting that much harder. On my due date, we had the house all clean, lots of food prepared for Henry for while we’d be in the hospital, and everything was ready to go. But as the days went on, I was constantly trying to keep everything in that state – staying on top of laundry, restocking Henry’s food and diapers, yet not being able to make any plans for the following day in case I went into labor – it was so annoying! Meanwhile, I was getting texts from friends and family checking in and while I of course appreciated the concern, it definitely didn’t help my frustration at still being pregnant. And coupled with the fact that I was getting more and more tired with each passing day from not getting great sleep thanks to being so pregnant, I just started to get really worn out. Plus, I was trying to do everything I could to make myself go into labor – lots of walking, I went and got a reflexology massage, and I was eating all the foods that are supposed to bring on contractions. Still nothing.
At the day before I was 41 weeks (10/26), I went in for some routine fetal monitoring as well as an appointment with the midwife. Everything looked great with the baby and the midwife said I was almost 4cms dilated. My body was clearly ready to go into labor, but I just needed something to get contractions going. She swept my membranes again, and I hoped that would do the trick…which it didn’t. We did go ahead and set a date for the following week for me to be induced, but she was convinced it wouldn’t come to that and assured me that I’d more than likely end up going into labor on my own. She also mentioned that the hospital had been crazy busy with babies lately and to the point where they had been diverting people to other hospitals, so that kind of made me nervous for when I did go into labor. Once you go past 41 weeks, the midwives like to have you do fetal monitoring at twice a week to make sure that your fluid levels aren’t too low and that everything is ok with the baby. I came back two days later (10/28) for more monitoring and met with the midwife on call for her to sweep my membranes for a third time and she said I was almost 5cms dilated. And honestly, that freaked me out a little because I knew that being so dilated could mean that when labor did start, things could progress incredibly fast. The midwife said that the baby, although head down, wasn’t quite in exactly the right position to put enough pressure on my cervix and that’s most likely why I hadn’t gone into labor yet. She suggested that I use my breast pump to try to get contractions going and suggested a few different types of squats and lunges that might help coax him into a better position. Over the weekend, I pumped a bunch of times and didn’t seem like it was doing much of anything, but I still remained hopeful that I’d go into labor on my own.
Every day after my due date, I’d go to bed hoping that I’d go into labor that night. And when I’d wake up in the morning still pregnant, I’d feel kind of mad, frustrated, annoyed, and almost a little bit like a failure? I know that probably seems totally crazy, but I had been following a few other bloggers on social media who had a similar due date to me and when they all had their babies, it’s hard not to feel like what the heck is wrong with me! However, when I woke up on Sunday (10/30) I didn’t feel mad about still being pregnant, I felt genuinely sad. Up until that point, I had truly been thinking that I would spontaneously go into labor on my own, but it was that day where I finally resigned myself to the fact that it was not going to happen that way. And it wasn’t so much that I had a problem with being induced, it was more so the realization that the picture I had in my head of how I assumed things were going to go was not going to happen. I felt so mentally and physically drained that I felt like I wasn’t even excited about giving birth any more, and that made me feel depressed. (I realize now writing this out that it probably sounds super dramatic, but at a week and a half past my due date, I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly!) I basically just stayed in bed and cried for a few hours that day (like I said, being overdue makes you crazy…ha) and that actually made me feel better. Over the weekend, I had called to move my induction up from 11/2 to 11/1 because I realized if I made it to November and I was still pregnant, I wanted this baby out ASAP. So on Sunday, after wallowing for a few hours, I accepted that this little boy was going to be a November baby and felt better that the end was finally in sight.
Monday morning, I felt good because I knew it was my last day of being pregnant. I figured I’d soak up time with Henry, make some chili for dinner, hand out candy to trick or treaters, and go to bed early before my induction the next day. I got out of bed around 8:30, got a cup of coffee, and was not having any signs of labor at all. A few minutes later, I had a contraction but didn’t think too much of it and went to get Henry dressed. Around 7 minutes later, I had another contraction (I had my contraction timer up at this point) but again, didn’t really think I was actually going into labor. 10 minutes later, I had another contraction. Hmmm. I literally only had those three contractions and then all the sudden, I started having contractions 2-3 minutes apart and they weren’t stopping. I started freaking out a little because everything was happening so fast, plus traffic at this time of day from our house to the hospital can be really bad, and I really did not want to have a baby in the car on the way. Cam was on a conference call in his office and so I texted him from Henry’s room saying he needed to be done with his call now. A minute later he rushed upstairs and he knew it was go time. On my fifth contraction or so, I called my parents (who at this point were staying at a hotel) and told them they needed to come over ASAP. I rushed around packing a few minute things, tidying up, and making sure we had everything all ready for Henry, all the while having contractions every two minutes. When my parents arrived, Cam and I immediately jumped in the car and headed for the hospital just before 10am. Thankfully traffic had cleared by that point and my contractions, although frequent, were not too painful yet.
|I had Cam take one last bump photo before we left, this is 41 weeks + 4 days 🙂 I’m actually wearing the same exact thing that I wore when we went to the hospital for Henry’s birth, except this time I’m not wearing any makeup since I learned from the first time around that wearing non-waterproof mascara to give birth is a pretty bad idea. LOL.|
|Very last picture as a family of 3 before heading to the hospital!|
When we got to the hospital, a nurse came and met us at check in to take us up to the labor and delivery floor. In the elevator, he mentioned that things were actually super quiet at the hospital that day, which made me feel better. The midwife practice at this hospital where I was delivering consists of about 10 different midwives and whoever happens to be on shift is who delivers your baby. And although this is the same hospital where we had Henry, the midwife who delivered him, who I loved, had since left the practice. But when we got up to labor and delivery, the midwife who was on shift came to meet
us and it turned out it was my favorite midwife who I had had the most
appointments with this pregnancy. Seeing her was a huge relief and made me feel like everything was really happening exactly as it was supposed to. At this point, I was having pretty frequent contractions that were becoming more intense. Because things were so quiet in labor and delivery that morning and because I was obviously in active labor and so far overdue, they didn’t even bother having me go to triage or checking to see how far dilated I was. They just went ahead and got me settled in a room since I was definitely being admitted and not leaving that hospital without a baby, ha!
By 11am, I was set up in my room and the nurse and midwife were working on getting all of my intake information. My water hadn’t broken yet, and they went ahead and got me set up with an IV and started the first dose of antibiotics because I was Group B Strep positive this time around. (I wasn’t with Henry, but this time I was and although I was a little bummed at first, it ended up being no big deal at all) Throughout this pregnancy, I had told the midwives that I would most likely want to get an epidural this time around (I didn’t with Henry) unless my labor was progressing super fast and there wasn’t time. And although my contractions had come on very quickly, they were holding steady and I wasn’t feeling any urges to push. I remembered from last time that things would need to get a lot more painful before the baby was actually born, so I went ahead and let them know that I definitely wanted to get the epidural. At this point, they still hadn’t checked me to see how far dilated I was and they thought it made sense to get the epidural first since it was something I definitely wanted. The anesthesiologist and one of the anesthesiology residents came in around noon (I think? Some of the timing is a little hazy…) and explained all about the epidural. My contractions were getting a lot more painful at this point so I was just like whatever, just hurry up and do it! Sitting still for them to put in the epidural felt like an eternity, but I go through it with Cam’s help and once it was in, they told me I should start feeling relief and it should increase with each contraction over the next twenty minutes. I did feel some relief, but not the amount I was expecting and my contractions were still so painful that I was literally screaming through some of them. Since I didn’t have an epidural before, I didn’t know how long it would take to kick in but the midwife and the nurse were like yeah, something is not right here. The anesthesiologist came back in and saw how much pain I was in and was like ok, so looks like the spot where we put it didn’t take and so if you want the epidural, we’re going to need to completely redo it. WTF.
At this point, I suppose I could have said not to redo it and that I’d just go on without it, but I was in a lot of pain and had already made up my mind that I wanted the epidural. And as much as I didn’t want to have to endure having it put in again, I did not want to go on without it. However, I told the anesthesiologist that there was no way I could sit up and have him put it in like he did before, and so he said he could do it while I was lying on my side. The next twenty minutes or so were brutal. They had to take all the tape off my back and redo everything for the epidural. I was having painful contractions and trying to be still while curling up in a ball so he could find a good spot on my back to put it in was horrible. I was covered in sweat and Cam and the nurses were basically having to hold me down so the anesthesiologist could do what he needed to. Finally, FINALLY, he got it in and I started to feel some relief from the pain. Apparently the spot where they put it in the first time just didn’t work for my back for whatever reason and so they moved it up higher and that did the trick. They gave me a very strong dose of meds and by 1pm-ish or so, I couldn’t feel any contractions at all. However, we could see them on the monitor and they were still happening and not slowing down at all. At this point, the midwife finally got around to checking me and I was 7cms dilated. Hearing that made me SO glad that I got the epidural because I knew if I was in that much pain going from 5-7 cms that going from 7-10cms and pushing would have been rough. At this point, the midwife said that I should get some rest and we’d just wait for things to progress. I tried to take a nap, but was too excited, so I ended up texting some family and friends and FaceTiming with my sister. LOL.
|We didn’t take any photos at the hospital until after I got the epidural the second time, everything was pretty busy up until then!|
The epidural made me feel a little out of it but also so amazing that I literally wasn’t feeling any pain and so the next couple of hours flew by. The midwife came to check me another time or two and at one point, she and one of the midwife students basically tried to adjust the baby’s position a little to make sure he’d have an easy time coming out. Around 4pm or so, she checked me and I was 10cms and ready to push, however, my water hadn’t broken yet. And it just so happened that at that exact time, there were two other women who were also ready to push as well. I was seriously feeling so good from the epidural and not having any urges to push, so I told the midwife that I was cool to just chill for awhile while she dealt with some of the other people in labor. I figured I had waited this long, what was another half hour or so…ha! At this point, my water also broke but I still wasn’t in any pain so Cam and I just sat there and chatted, knowing that our son would be here really soon.
|So excited that we’re finally going to meet this baby boy!|
|Like I said, the epidural made me a little out of it. Ha.|
Around 4:40 or so, the midwife came back and it was time to have a baby! I started pushing right around 4:45 and thanks to being able to rest the past few hours, I felt like I had a lot of energy for pushing. With Henry, I got to the hospital around 8pm and labored all through the night and had to start pushing in the early hours of the morning. But this time, it was the middle of the day and so I just felt a lot more awake and ready to do what needed to be done. I pushed a few times and the midwife and nurses were trying to coach me not to push too hard or too fast, but to sort of ease the baby out gradually. Pushing with the epidural was still painful, as I don’t think anything can really take that pain away. However, it was way less painful than pushing was without one and I felt like I could actually breathe in between pushes. I also didn’t throw up at all when I was pushing this time which made a world of difference from last time where I literally puked every time I pushed. (It probably helped that I had ramen for dinner the night before and had only eaten a banana the morning I went into labor so my stomach was pretty empty!) I pushed a few times and then all of the sudden his head was out. After that I pushed another time or two and they had to help maneuver his shoulders out, but at 4:58pm, after only 13 minutes of pushing, Charlie was officially born!
Seeing him come out and having him immediately put on my chest was such an emotional moment and because I wasn’t so delirious from pain and puking, I felt like I could really be present to take it in. One of my first thoughts when they were pulling him out and putting him on me was oh my goodness, he’s so big! He wasn’t crying right away, but they put him on me and started rubbing him down vigorously and he started letting out cries. Pretty soon, he was intensely crying and boy, did he have a set of lungs! With Henry, there was some meconium in the fluid when my water broke and he had the cord wrapped around his neck, so we didn’t get to do the delayed cord clamping like we planned and I didn’t even really get to see him until 10 minutes after he was born or hold him until like an hour after he came out. This time around, my hope had really been that I’d get to have that skin to skin time right after birth and just enjoy my baby and so getting to do that was so amazing. With Cam right by my side, I was just holding him and crying and just so, so happy he was finally here! After a few minutes, Cam got to cut the cord and we were just soaking in this perfect, squishy, amazing baby and just so thankful to have another son.
After about an hour or so of holding him on my chest, I just couldn’t wait any longer and told the nurse I had to know what he weighed. I knew that he was bigger than Henry and most likely over 10 lbs, but when they took him across the room to the scale and it said 10lbs 9oz, we were all a little shocked! (That’s over a pound heavier than Henry!) He also measured in at 22 inches long, which is half an inch longer than his big brother. Being 11 days past my due date and being that Cam and I were both big babies, I knew he’d be big, but it was still pretty amazing that I had given birth to a baby of that size!
The only not so great thing that happened after Charlie was born is that delivering my placenta was a little bit of an ordeal. After it came out, I was still bleeding quite a bit and had some trailing membranes that didn’t seem to want to come out, and so the midwife had to work for quite awhile dealing with that. In addition to being so happy I had the epidural for pushing out such a large baby, I was also really happy I had it because dealing with the midwife trying to make sure she got out all these membranes would have been super uncomfortable without it.
Once that was all squared away, we were just enjoying cuddling with our sweet baby, as well as letting our families know he had arrived. My parents had been at our house watching Henry during the day, but after Charlie was born, Cam’s parents came to take over and my parents came to the hospital around 7pm. They got to see us briefly while we were still in the room where I delivered, but then shortly after we moved up to our room on the Mother/Baby floor.
Soon after we got to our new room, Cam’s parents arrived at the hospital with Henry. Throughout my pregnancy, one of the things I was most excited about was that moment of Henry meeting his baby brother. All throughout my pregnancy, we’ve been reading books about being a big brother, we got him a little baby doll, and we’d talk to him about the baby. Still, I knew he wouldn’t really “get it” the way an older child would and although I knew that he probably wouldn’t have some huge reaction upon meeting his brother in the hospital, I was still super excited for that moment of having my boys together for the first time. In the weeks leading up to Charlie’s birth, I ended up deciding to get Henry these doctor scrubs for Halloween. I knew we most likely wouldn’t be taking him trick or treating this year, since I assumed we’d be home with a newborn. I thought theses big brother scrubs would be cute for him to wear around the house to hand out candy, and just a fitting costume for him this year that he could also use to wear around the house as PJs. I never could have anticipated that he’d actually be coming to the hospital to meet his brother for the first time on Halloween night, so the scrubs ended up being absolutely perfect, especially since all the nurses were also wearing blue scrubs just like his. When Henry came in, my parents and Cam’s parents were all in the room and it was a little bit of a blur because I just started bawling my eyes out almost immediately. Henry seemed a little shy and unsure of what was going on, but Cam brought him over to sit on the bed with me and had our first moment as a family of four. Like I said, I wasn’t expecting Henry to have some big reaction to the baby at first, it was more the fact the realization that we had two beautiful, healthy sons and we were all together for the first time that just made me very emotional. Especially after waiting for so long for Charlie to come, I just felt so happy and thankful and it was just a special moment.
|After a minute or two, Henry pretty much lost interest in the baby and became way more interested in all the equipment in the hospital room….ha! So many things to check out for a toddler. LOL.|
Being able to have both of our parents there to see Charlie on the day he was born was also really special and I’m so glad that worked out!
As for his name, we chose Charles Richard for a few reasons. When I was pregnant with Henry, we ended up deciding on his name pretty quickly and we didn’t really have other top choice names that we debated between. So this time around when we found out we were having another boy, it was kind of back to the drawing board to think of a name. And although there were names that we liked that were more Biblical or more trendy, we really wanted a name that went well with Henry. Since his name (Henry William) is very traditional, Cam through out the name Charlie at some point after finding out it was a boy. At first, I didn’t really love it, mainly because it was a name we had never considered before and was kind of out of left field. But as time went on, it really started to grow on me and I really liked the way Henry and Charlie sounded together. (And although we don’t plan on calling them this except maybe as a joke, Hank and Chuck go pretty great together too. LOL.) Also, Charlie is a family name on Cam’s side and I really like the idea of using a name that has some sort of family tie. For the middle name, we knew pretty early on that we’d be going with Richard since that’s Cam’s middle name, as well as his grandfather’s name. We thought that Charles Richard went well together, and also went really well with Henry William. As with Henry, we opted not to share his name on social media until after the birth in case we had a change of heart, but we had told many of our family and friends that it would most likely be Charlie. And then on the day I went into labor when they asked if baby boy had a name, we felt good about Charlie being the right choice. We definitely plan on calling him Charlie, we did put Charles on his birth certificate and I like that he has the option of using a more formal name down the road if he wants. Plus, I feel like Charlie is just such a sweet, all-American name and I think it suits this big guy perfectly!
Reflecting on my experience this time vs. last time, I’m so thankful for how everything went. I know some people might be wondering if I regret not having an epidural with Henry and I really don’t. His birth story was such an intense experience that truly took every ounce of strength I had, and I almost feel like going through that immense amount of pain helped to forge me in to the new role that I would have to take on as a mom. As I mentioned in his birth story, the midwife I saw after Henry’s birth really helped to put the pain I experienced with his labor and birth into perspective and helped me see the value in going through something really hard because it’s something that I would be able to draw strength on as a new mom, knowing if I got through that, that I could get through anything that motherhood might throw at me. This time around, I was going into this birth from a much different place. I’m already a mom, and I really love it. I felt like this experience was not so much about going through this tremendous life change, but rather getting to really experience the joy of being a mom in a few way. When I was in labor with Henry, I remember thinking (and screaming LOL) when I was pushing that I didn’t think I could do it. This time around, I knew I could do it and I think that confidence going into Charlie’s birth was really what made the biggest difference, even beyond getting the epidural. But I’m really really really glad that I made the choice to get the epidural this time around because it felt very redemptive to be able to be so much more present when Charlie was born and to get to enjoy the experience a lot more.
After Henry met Charlie on Saturday night, Cam’s parents and my dad left
and Cam actually headed home as well and my mom stayed in the hospital
over night with me. I really wanted Henry to have a sense of normalcy
and I thought having Cam go home with him and put him to bed would be
the best thing for him. Plus, I thought it would be the best way for Cam
to actually get a little rest and take a shower after the day. I knew I
wouldn’t be getting much rest with people coming in and out of our room
to take vitals and check on us all night, so he might as well get a
good night’s sleep! And I just felt a lot more confident with nursing and everything in general, so I was fine letting him go home. He didn’t want me to stay there alone though, and my mom was happy to stay in the room, so that worked out well. The next morning, my dad came to pick up my mom and see the baby one more time before heading back to Michigan and then he took her back to our house to watch Henry and Cam came back up to the hospital with Charlie and I. Our goal was to be able to go home after 24 hours and not have to stay a second night since the baby was doing well and I was feeling good. However, since there are so many different people that had to see me and the baby to sign off on our discharge, that meant that we had people in our room non-stop that day after Charlie was born. It was kind of a blur, but they finally cleared us to head home around 6pm, so just a little over 24 hours after Charlie’s birth. Our time in the hospital was great, but I was so ready to get home and see Henry and sleep (or well at least nurse) in my own bed. Ha.
|Getting ready to take our little Halloween baby home!|
|I actually brought a different going home outfit for me, but ended up just wearing the same outfit I had worn to the hospital 24 hours before to come home 🙂 And thankfully, Charlie seems to be a big fan of the car seat like his big brother!|